PH has until July 24 to repatriate almost 7,000 OFWs in Saudi
The government has only until July 24 to repatriate about 7,000 undocumented overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia who have availed of an amnesty program.
The Philippine Embassy in Riyadh said the Saudi government extended until July 24 the amnesty program which had expired end of June.
The Embassy earlier reported that some 12,000 OFWs have availed of the amnesty program offered last March 29. However, only 5,122 OFWs have been repatriated at the end of the 90-day amnesty window.
This left at least 6,878 OFWs who have yet to voluntarily leave the kingdom to avoid facing penalties or arrest.
Raul Dado, executive director of the Department of Foreign Affairs office of the undersecretary for migrant workers affairs, said on Monday that the Embassy will work to repatriate the remaining 7,000 or so OFWs “as soon as possible” and register those others who have not yet applied for amnesty.
“As per policy and the standard information campaign, the Embassy will register as many as would like to register” for the amnesty program, he said.
“The timetable for the (repatriation of the) 6,000 plus is as soon as possible, as all host government requirements are complied with and all private obligations of the OFWs are settled,” Dado added.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello earlier said most of the undocumented OFWs were victims of maltreatment and illegal recruiter. He said some were forced to flee their employers and sought refuge in Philippine labor offices in Saudi Arabia. JE
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